Tamil Nadu CM Stalin assures of action against those involved in sexual harassment of Kalakshetra students

The CM, responding to a special call attention motion in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, said an investigation is being held and action would be taken; however, no written complaint has been received by the police so far, he said

March 31, 2023 02:55 pm | Updated 06:15 pm IST - CHENNAI

Police stationed at the Kalakshetra campus on Thursday

Police stationed at the Kalakshetra campus on Thursday | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran

Responding to a special call attention motion moved by a few legislators in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly over charges of sexual harassment of students of Kalakshetra under the control of the Union Culture Ministry, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday assured of appropriate legal action, if charges were confirmed, in the investigation.

“As for this government, an appropriate investigation would be taken in this issue, and if the charges are confirmed, appropriate legal action would be initiated definitely against whoever they may be,” Mr. Stalin said in his reply to the special call attention motion moved in the House.

A team of officers from the Revenue and Police Departments -- Revenue Divisional Officer, Tahsildar, Joint Police Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Police and officers have been sent and are undertaking an investigation to collect further information in this case, he said. Mr. Stalin said the team visited the campus on Friday too, and held talks with students and the management.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin addresses Assembly on Kalakshetra Foundation | Video Credit: ANI

A police security team led by a woman Inspector of Police was also deployed there. The CM said soon after the information about the incident reached him, he got further information in this case from the District Collector after which a team of Revenue and Police Departments officers were sent for investigation.

Elaborating on the developments in the case so far, Mr. Stalin said the National Commission for Women (NCW) had posted on social media about “sexual harassment” on March 21 and further sent a communication to the Director-General of Police (DGP) in this regard. “In this connection, the Director of Kalakshetra Foundation met the DGP and said there was no complaint of sexual harassment in their organisation.”

Later, the NCW in a communication to the DGP on March 25 said it enquired into the issue on the basis of a media report and that it wound up the probe. However, the chairperson of NCW eventually arrived in Kalakshetra and held enquiries with 210 women students. “She also said the police need not accompany her. There is no written complaint received by the police in this regard.” Whileso, following a sit-in protest by students within the campus, it was announced that the college in Kalakshetra Foundation campus would remain closed and that students would have to vacate the hostel.

When moving the special call attention motion, VCK’s S.S. Balaji (Tiruporur) said that police were being “soft” in the handling of the case. Panruti MLA T. Velmurugan questioned how the director of Kalakshetra could withdraw a complaint when students had protested over sexual harassment charges. Congress’ K. Selvaperunthagai (Sriperumbudur) listed out four names, who he alleged, were involved in the sexual harassment of women students in Kalakshetra.

Mr. Selvaperunthagai also said there were “threats” to silence the students and further urged the Chief Minister to crush such threats with an “iron fist”. PMK’s R. Arul (Salem West) said sexual harassment charges in Kalakshetra have become a long-time issue without any action. CPI’s T. Ramachandran (Thalli) said despite such charges there has been no action taken against the management.

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